As I stepped off the elevator onto the 35th floor and entered the Lobby Lounge, I felt like it was Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum house. I had been “patiently” waiting for over a month for my chance to take part in the afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental. Just as Alexander Dumas revised E.T.A. Hoffman’s original story about “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” and Marius Petipa had the brilliant idea to choreograph this revision into the original ballet; the Mandarin Oriental New York took the idea of a holiday tea and turned it into something magical—The Holiday Nutcracker Tea!
|Holiday Nutcracker Tea @ Lobby Lounge|
Act I: “Savory Sandwiches”
The Nutcracker Tea takes your traditional holiday tea favorite delicacies and with the Mandarin’s innovative touch turns it into an experience you will not forget. For my hardcore tea connoisseurs, there is no need to fret because the Mandarin still has their famous sconces, Devon cream and marmalade. The four sandwich selections are super delish: cracked pepper turkey, watercress, smoked salmon and egg salad.
|Yummy Sandwich Tower|
My personal favorite was the White Truffled Egg Salad. Amazing is not a good enough adjective! Words that come to mind are miraculous, stupendous, and wondrous. But seriously, if something has truffle in its name then it has to be good! I am not going to lie, I had a special guest with me and had she not finished her sandwich just as fast as I had, I might have pulled the old bait and switch! My second favorite was the Cracked Pepper Turkey. The sweet onion jam and the cranberry-walnut bread were the perfect combination. I had to pace myself because I knew I didn't want to miss out on the treats from the “Land of the Sweets”.
The tea selection is very thorough. You have many choices: greens, blacks and herbals from the Mandarin’s Tealeaves Tea collection. Trying to keep with the Christmas theme, I decided to go with the Peppermint Tea. It was perfect! I was in my own world sipping my tea and looking out the window at the AMAZING panoramic view of Central Park and the Columbus Circle Holiday Market.
|Lobby Lounge Tea with a View|
Act II: “Sweet Delicacies”
Enter the “Land of the Sweets” where the Sugar Plum Fairy will reward your taste buds with sweet celebration dances:
· The Linzer Star Cookie Dance
· The Fruit Cake Dance
· The Coconut-Spiced Chocolate Snowball Dance
· The Caramel Toasted Pecan Pie Dance
· The Waltz of Eggnog Panna Cotta
This had been a night of firsts for me because believe it or not I had never had fruit cake or eggnog! Why didn’t someone force me to try these holiday staples sooner? Probably because they wanted to hog all the fruit cake and eggnog for themselves! That isn’t very merry—but if you asked me to share my fruit cake or eggnog panna cotta at the tea, I would have to pause before I would make myself share my Christmas cheer!
|Linzer Cookies, Fruit Cake, Coconut-Spiced Chocolate Snowball, Caramel Toasted Pecan Pie, Eggnog Panna Cotta|
My Nutcracker Tea was everything a girl could hope for! I left very satisfied but wanting to return for more. The only thing that would have taken this tea to another level would have been if one of my fellow guests would have performed the infamous Pas De Deux, but that might have been over the top! You still have time to partake in the Nutcracker Tea because it doesn’t end until January 1, 2012. You DO NOT want to miss this.
|Lobby Lounge View of Central Park|
Epicurean Girl’s Conclusion: 5 VIPs
Mandarin Oriental’s Holiday Nutcracker Tea gets our highest rating of 5 VIPs.